Digitization saves us a lot of paper and mail. So everything is good, everything is green, everything is sustainable, you might think. But at the latest after extrapolating the electricity consumption of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (it varies between 9 and 45 terawatt-hours), little by little we realize that the technology consumes energy and not just a little. Our online activities now have an ecological footprint as large as that of global air traffic. So can we also act sustainably on the web? What are the big “climate killers” on the web? And how do you develop sustainable web design?
How does sustainability work on the web?
To measure our ecological footprint, we indicate how many kilometers we cover each year, where we live and how we eat. But how much we surf, how long we stream or chat is hardly taken into account. Because all the bytes that we call on the Internet do not end up in our electricity bill. Large data centers run in the background so cat videos are available at any time. Computing power, cooling, and uninterrupted power supply for thousands of servers cost enormous amounts of energy. Information and communications technology consumed around 47 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in Germany in 2017. The trend is clearly upward.
Sustainable Website Development
The average website is now 2MB. Three years ago it was just under 1MB. But is it possible to get smaller without having to give up a sleek web design and good user experience?
Jack Lennox asked himself this question and designed a WordPress site on the topic of sustainability on the web with only 6kb. No images, no navigation bar, a web font already available on most devices, a menu that loads as a separate page and looks like a pop-up thanks to two design elements, minimal CSS.
The result is a wonderful slim and slim website with fast load times and good search engine rankings, showing that you sometimes have to think about the essentials. Do you really need all the bells and whistles? Are ten images really more meaningful than two? How many CSS classes do you still need? Website design is a real inspiration for efficient and environmentally friendly web design that is also easy to use and accessible. This is how sustainability works on the web.